Benchmark AHB2 Power Amplifier

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    The Quietest, Cleanest Audio Amplifier on the Planet

    From the first watt to the last watt, no audio power amplifier offers lower noise or lower distortion than the Benchmark AHB2.Benchmark has raised the bar by introducing a new and revolutionary amplifier!

    “I measured less distortion and noise in the AHB2 than in any other of the many power amps I've measured over the years.”

    -Bascom King, BHK Labs

    “If ever there were a giant-killer of an amp, this is it.”

    "It is one of the -- if not the -- quietest, most resolving amps I've heard. Time and again, without ever having intended to, I wound up hours deep in listening to the fringes of my music collection, thanks to the AHB2’s reference-level transparency and obscene athleticism."

    - Hans Wetzel, SoundStage!

    "Benchmark Media Systems' AHB2 is an extraordinary amplifier. Not only does its performance lie at the limits of what is possible for me to reliably test, it packs high power into a very small package, especially when used in bridged-mono mode. It is truly a high-resolution amplifier."

    - John Atkinson, Stereophile

    True High-Resolution Performance 

    The AHB2 is the ideal match to the performance limits of High-Resolution-Audio (HRA) formats. Benchmark's AHB2 power amplifier delivers musical details without introducing the masking effects of amplifier noise and distortion. The dynamic range of the AHB2 is 132 dB, making it 10 to 30 dB quieter than some of the very best reference-quality power amplifiers.

    The frequency response of the AHB2 extends beyond 200 kHz. With the AHB2, you will discover previously overlooked nuances, dynamics, and detail in your favorite recordings and experience the full potential of the latest high-resolution 24-bit PCM and 1-bit DSD audio formats.

    Experience the Emotion

    The musical details and emotion captured on today's finest High-Resolution-Audio recordings can only be fully appreciated when every component in the signal chain is capable of true high-resolution performance. Power amplifiers are a weak link in most audio systems. Most power amplifiers are well matched to the limitations of the CD format, but they fall well short of the capabilities of high-resolution formats. In contrast, the revolutionary AHB2 was specifically designed to deliver true high-resolution performance.

    "Best Stereo Amplifier of 2017 ... masterfully detailed and transparent with spot-on tonality and some serious punch."

    - Ben Shyman, Home Theater Review

    FULFILLING THE NEED FOR BETTER AMPLIFICATION

    D/A conversion technology has outpaced the development of new power amplifiers. This means that the power amplifier has become a limiting factor in many audio systems. For example, the noise and distortion produced by the Benchmark DAC3 D/A converter is 20 to 30 dB lower than that produced by most high-quality power amplifiers. Until now, this meant that the DAC3 could not be fully appreciated. Benchmark set out to solve this problem by creating an amplifier that matches the performance of the DAC3.

    A RADICALLY DIFFERENT POWER AMPLIFIER

    We had to look beyond existing amplifier technologies and explore some new and radical solutions. In our search, we learned of two new patents on a new amplifier technology from THX. This was exactly the technology we needed to build our new amplifier.

    The AHB2 uses the new and revolutionary THX-patented AAA™ technology to virtually eliminate all forms of distortion. This technology uses feed-forward error correction to eliminate the distortion that is normally produced by the output stage.  No other audio amplifier comes close to delivering the clean, quiet, and robust power of the AHB2.

    Difficult Speaker Loads are Handled With Ease

    Many loudspeakers have frequencies at which their impedance drops to levels that are much lower than the "nominal" impedance. The AHB2 drives difficult phase angles and low impedances with ease. Stereo loads as low as 1.4 Ohms can be cleanly driven to full output levels. Most power amplifiers produce higher levels of distortion when the load impedance decreases. In contrast, the feed-forward error correction system in the AHB2 keeps the output clean when driving difficult loads. The AHB2 produces almost no measurable distortion at any rated load condition.

    In our quest to build the ultimate amplifier, we also focused on frequency response, output noise, drive current, damping factor, and reliability. The result is an amplifier that stands head and shoulders above the competition.

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      The AHB2 has been internationally recognized for its groundbreaking technology, performance, and transparent sound.

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      Sonic Purity that Surpasses Class A!

      The AHB2 is a linear amplifier that surpasses the sonic purity of all class-A amplifiers. No amplifier delivers lower noise or lower distortion. The small, passively cooled chassis, cleanly delivers 480 Watts bridged mono into 6 Ohms, with additional reserves for driving difficult speaker loads. Unlike power-hungry class-A amplifiers, the AHB2 achieves a power efficiency that rivals that of a Class D (switching) power amplifier.

      Difficult Speaker Loads are Handled With Ease

      Many loudspeakers have frequencies at which their impedance drops to levels that are much lower than the "nominal" impedance. The AHB2 drives difficult phase angles and low impedances with ease. Stereo loads as low as 1.4 Ohms can be cleanly driven to full output levels. Most power amplifiers produce higher levels of distortion when the load impedance decreases. In contrast, the feed-forward error correction system in the AHB2 keeps the output clean when driving difficult loads. The AHB2 produces almost no measurable distortion at any rated load condition.

      High Damping Factor

      The AHB2 has a high damping factor that augments its extended low-end to deliver solid, well-controlled bass. This high damping factor also keeps the frequency response absolutely flat while driving speakers with large frequency-dependent impedance variations.

      High Output Current

      The AHB2 can deliver up to 29 A peak to each channel simultaneously. This robust drive current easily handles some of the most demanding loudspeakers. The AHB2 has tightly regulated power supplies that keep the output clean while delivering high current.

      Distortion is Below Audibility

      The AHB2 will never produce audible distortion. In most playback systems, the distortion produced by the AHB2 will never even reach the 0 dB SPL threshold of hearing. This means that the distortion could not be heard, even if it could be played while the music was muted.

      The AHB2 allows you to escape the distortion limitations of classic amplifier topologies and enter the world of high-resolution audio playback.

      "I very much enjoyed my time evaluating the Benchmark AHB2 amplifier and can heartily recommend it to those seeking one of the lowest distortion and lowest noise amplifiers on the planet—one that is very musically transparent and easy on the ears to boot."

      - Frank Alles, Stereo Times

      Extreme Performance Often Requires a Radical Approach

      The AHB2 amplifier is radically different than traditional audio amplifiers. Two new THX-patented feed-forward error-correction technologies eliminate most sources of distortion. An unconventional power supply maintains tight regulation and low ripple while minimizing magnetic fields. A low-gain topology optimizes the gain staging between the D/A converter and the power amplifier while minimizing noise. Sophisticated shielding and star-quad signal distribution provide outstanding immunity to interference. A unique output stage incorporates class-H tracking power supply rails to improve efficiency. The result is that the cool-running AHB2 has a signal to noise ratio of 132 dB while distortion is at or below the measurement limits of the finest test equipment.

      See John Siau's application note: "A Radical Approach to Power Amplification" for more details.

      Introducing THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier Technology™

      The AHB2 is the only amplifier that leverages the patented THX-AAA Technology™. This patented system reduces distortion to vanishingly low levels while enabling several power-saving techniques.

      "The Benchmark AHB2 is a powerful and efficient amplifier with prodigious low levels of noise and distortion. The fact that it is also very musical and non-fatiguing, courtesy of THX’s patented AAA Technology™, is the icing on the cake. Benchmark Media and THX have a lot to be proud of for the development and implementation of the new technology the AHB2 represents."

      - Frank Alles, Stereo Times

      Bipolar Class-AB Output Stage

      The AHB2 has a bipolar class-AB output stage that delivers high output current and low noise. The THX-AAA Technology™ provides accurate cancellation of zero-crossing errors, exceeding the performance of the best class-A amplifier.

      Feed-Forward Error Correction

      Traditional class-AB amplifiers generate crossover distortion every time the push-pull output stage crosses 0 volts. This crossover distortion can be especially problematic at low playback levels.

      In contrast, class-A amplifiers eliminate crossover distortion by keeping all output devices turned on at all times. This brute-force class-A approach solves the crossover distortion problem but it consumes lots of power while delivering very little to the speakers. The wasted power produces heat which must be dissipated into the listening space.

      Class-A amplifiers eliminate crossover distortion but they suffer from high power consumption, poor damping, and limited output power. The AHB2 is the first amplifier to virtually eliminate crossover distortion without incurring the undesirable side effects of class-A amplification.

      The Importance of the First Watt

      Dick Olsher once said that "the first Watt is the most important Watt". We agree! From the first Watt to the last Watt, the AHB2 shows no evidence of crossover distortion.

      In contrast, all conventional class-AB amplifiers have crossover-distortion artifacts.Traditional class-AB designs attempt to control distortion through the use of feedback. Unfortunately, these feedback systems have a limited ability to reduce the abrupt transients that are caused by output device crossover transitions. Feedback networks attempt to correct errors after they occur. In contrast, feed-forward networks can prevent errors before they occur.

      THX-AAA Technology™ includes an ultra-clean low-power error-correction amplifier that runs in parallel with the high-power main amplifier. The correction amplifier actively drives the output while the main output devices transition between push and pull states. Like a class-A amplifier, the AHB2 shows no signs of crossover distortion. The feed-forward system virtually eliminates the errors that would have been produced by the output devices in the main amplifier.

      High Efficiency - Green Never Sounded so Good!

      The THX-patented feed-forward error correction used in the AHB2 is so effective that biasing of the class-AB bipolar output devices can be reduced to unusually low levels. Benchmark has chosen to maintain a small bias current in the output stage, but this bias current is not critical to the distortion performance of the unit. The benefit of low bias current is that very little power is wasted as heat when the amplifier is idle. The AHB2 only draws 12 W when idle, and less than 1/2 W in standby.

      The feed-forward error correction also allows the use of class-H tracking power supply rails without the usual distortion-performance penalty.  These tracking rails significantly improve the overall efficiency of the amplifier while the error correction keeps distortion nearly nonexistent. The AHB2 rivals the efficiency of class-D amplifiers while exceeding the sonic performance of power-hungry class-A designs. Green never sounded so good!

      Innovative Low-Noise Power Supply

      Most high-quality power amplifiers have linear power supplies, large toroidal transformers, and large banks of energy-storage capacitors. These linear supplies are usually unregulated and the capacitors help to remove ripple produced by the audio and by the AC line. In contrast, the AHB2 uses a tightly regulated resonant switching power supply that includes a very fast control loop. This control loop responds to audio-frequency load changes and keeps the supply voltage constant without the use of a large bank of capacitors. This active regulation is much more effective than capacitive energy-storage. Consequently, the peak power output of the AHB2 does not vary with line voltage or audio loading. The power supply rails maintain a constant voltage during audio peaks.

      The power supply in the AHB2 switches at frequencies that are well above audible frequencies. This eliminates mechanical hum while significantly reducing the strength of stray magnetic fields. For a given amount of power, magnetic field strength decreases as switching frequency increases. The lower field strengths also provide a significant reduction in size. High-frequency transformers and coils are also much smaller than line-frequency components. This size reduction contributes to the small physical size of the AHB2.

      The switching power supply used in the AHB2 is a zero-voltage switching, resonant power converter. This means that the power devices in the supply switch near zero voltage and zero current, eliminating the large switching transients produced by conventional switching power supplies. The power supply in the AHB2 is actually much cleaner and quieter than a conventional linear supply. 

      The power supply In the AHB2 is well over 90% efficient, much more efficient than linear supplies. This means that little power is lost to heat.

      Passive Cooling

      The power-efficient AHB2 uses passive heat sinks to maintain cool operation. The AHB2 delivers high power without the need for fans. The unit runs cool, even when playing audio at full output levels. The absence of fan noise is absolutely essential in a high-resolution listening environment.

      Low-Noise Input Amplifiers

      The precision balanced inputs on the AHB2 are equipped with low-noise input amplifiers. Benchmark considers balanced inputs essential in a true high-resolution system. If balanced sources are not available, Benchmark sells unbalanced to balanced adapter cables that extend a 3-wire balanced connection back to the unbalanced source connectors. These adapter cables provide many of the advantages of fully balanced interconnects while providing full compatibility with all unbalanced sources.

      Low Gain for Low System Noise

      The AHB2 is a low-gain design. Maximum output is not reached until the balanced inputs reach +22 dBu. This is a much higher signal level than is used at the input of most power amplifiers. High interface signal levels are required to achieve the best possible system signal to noise ratio (SNR). Most power amplifiers have far too much gain and consequently they suffer from poor noise performance. The AHB2 is 10 dB to 30 dB quieter than some of the very best power amplifiers on the market. A rear-panel gain switch can be used to set the AHB2 at higher gain settings if necessary. The low-gain setting is designed to interface directly with Benchmark DAC3 converters and other professional audio products.

      Bulletproof Protection System - No Relays

      The AHB2 has a unique protection system that prevents damage from overloads and short circuits. The protection system monitors output voltage, output current, output distortion, output device SOA (safe operating area), power supply current, power supply voltage, AC line voltage, case temperatures, and power device temperatures. Fault conditions silently mute both output channels in order to protect the speakers and amplifier from damage. The amplifier outputs are also muted while the amplifier is turning on or off.

      The mute circuits are fully electronic. There are no mechanical relays in the mute circuits. Our tests showed that relays are too slow to protect against certain fault events. Our tests also showed that relay contacts can add significant distortion as they deteriorate with use. The AHB2 is one of very few amplifiers that avoids the use of relays in the output stage. This means that the AHB2 will maintain its rated distortion performance after an unlimited number of power on/off cycles. 

      Benchmark's unique distortion monitoring system mutes the amplifier if it is excessively driven into clipping. This system protects tweeters from an overdriven amplifier.

      Benchmark's short circuit detection system is fast enough to fully protect the amplifier from events occurring at any output voltage or current. This system detects abnormal loads and instantly mutes the outputs. 

      A status display shows the exact cause of the fault so that the problem can be corrected.

      SpeakON Output Connectors

      The AHB2 is equipped with high-quality binding posts, and SpeakON output connectors. The high-current SpeakON connectors are designed for heavy-duty commercial sound systems and provide much better electrical connections than binding posts. Benchmark highly recommends the use of the twist-lock SpeakON output connectors. We also highly recommend the use of our top-quality professional-grade speaker cables.

      A.H.B.

      The letters A, H, and B allude to the unique topology of the amplifier's output stage. The AHB2 combines class-AB, and class-H topologies using a feed-forward error correction system.

      But there is much more to the story -

      The initials A.H.B. can be found on many of the circuit diagrams of Benchmark's early products dating back as far as 1983. These are the initials of Benchmark's founder, Allen H. Burdick. He personally designed many of Benchmark's early products.

      Allen had a life-long passion for audio, and he became one of the leading innovators in the pro-audio industry. The AHB2 is named in his memory.

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      Continuous Average Output Power

      < 0.0003 % THD+N at full rated power, 20 Hz to 20 kHz

      • 100 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms, both channels driven
      • 130 Watts per channel into 6 Ohms, both channels driven
      • 190 Watts per channel into 4 Ohms, both channels driven
      • 240 Watts per channel into 3 Ohms, both channels driven
      • 200 Watts into 16 Ohms, bridged mono
      • 380 Watts into 8 Ohms, bridged mono
      • 480 Watts into 6 Ohms, bridged mono

      All speakers have variations in input impedance. Select loads based on nominal impedances not minimum impedances. The AHB2 is stable into all loads. The AHB2 is conservatively rated at an output level where THD+N is < 0.0003 % instead of the more typical 1% THD+N. Power at 1% THD will be higher.

      Output Voltage Into Various Load Impedances

      < 0.0003 % THD+N at the following output voltages and load impedances, 20 Hz to 20 kHz

      • 29.03 dBV, 31.25 dBu, 28.28 Vrms into 8 Ohms, both channels driven
      • 28.92 dBV, 31.14 dBu, 27.93 Vrms into 6 Ohms, both channels driven
      • 28.81 dBV, 31.03 dBu, 27.57 Vrms into 4 Ohms, both channels driven
      • 28.57 dBV, 30.79 dBu, 26.83 Vrms into 3 Ohms, both channels driven
      • 27.14 dBV, 29.36 dBu, 22.76 Vrms into 2 Ohms, both channels driven
      • 35.05 dBV, 37.27 dBu, 56.57 Vrms into 16 Ohms, bridged mono
      • 34.83 dBV, 37.05 dBu, 55.14 Vrms into 8 Ohms, bridged mono
      • 34.59 dBV, 36.81 dBu, 53.67 Vrms into 6 Ohms, bridged mono
      • 33.16 dBV, 35.38 dBu, 45.52 Vrms into 4 Ohms, bridged mono

      Use dBV to calculate the peak SPL from your speaker/amplifier combination. Use the following formula: Amplifier output voltage in dBV + speaker sensitivity at 2.83V - 9 dB. Example: (29.03 dBV at 8 Ohms) + (90 dB SPL @ 2.83V 1m) - 9 dB = 110 dB SPL at 1 meter

      SNR & Dynamic Range

      Rated output relative to output noise, inputs shorted

      • 132 dB A-weighted, Stereo Mode
      • 135 dB A-weighted, Mono Mode
      • 130 dB Unweighted, 20 Hz to 20 kHz, Stereo Mode
      • 133 dB Unweighted, 20 Hz to 20 kHz, Mono Mode

      Noise Voltage

      Output noise voltage, A-weighted, inputs shorted

      • -103 dBV, -101 dBu, 7.1 uVrms, Stereo Mode
      • -100 dBV, -98 dBu, 9.8 uVrms, Mono Mode

      Use dBV to calculate the SPL of the noise produced by your speaker/amplifier combination. Use the following formula: Amplifier output noise voltage in dBV + speaker sensitivity at 2.83V - 9 dB. Example: Mono mode driving very high efficiency speakers: (-100 dBV) + (104 dB SPL @ 2.83V 1m) - 9 dB = -5 dB SPL at 1 meter. This means that the system noise will be 5 dB below the threshold of hearing when driving speakers with a very high 104 dB efficiency.

        Noise Relative to 2.83 Vrms

        Output noise relative to 2.83 Vrms, A-weighted, inputs shorted

        • -112 dB, Stereo Mode
        • -109 dB, Mono Mode

        THD+N

        1 kHz, 80 kHz LPF, at full rated output into any rated load

        • < -118 dB (< 0.00013%), Stereo Mode
        • < -118 dB (< 0.00013%), Mono Mode

        THD

        1 kHz, 20 kHz LPF, at full rated output into any rated load

        • -119 dB (< 0.00011%), Stereo Mode
          • < -120 dB (< 0.00010%), Mono Mode

          Crosstalk

          • Better than -115 dB at 1 kHz
          • Better than -92 dB at 20 kHz

          Frequency Response

          • Better than 0.1 Hz to 200 kHz, +0/-3 dB
          • -0.01 dB at 20 Hz, -0.17 dB at 20 kHz, 8-Ohm Load
          • -0.23 dB at 20 Hz, -0.32 dB at 20 kHz, 4-Ohm Load

          Damping Factor

          • 350 at 20 Hz, 8-Ohms
          • 254 at 1 kHz, 8-Ohms
          • 34 at 20 kHz, 8-Ohms
          • 7 at 200 kHz, 8-Ohms 

          Maximum Audio Output Current

          • 29 A peak, per channel, both channels driven

          Input Sensitivity

          • Low-Gain = 22 dBu (9.8 Vrms), Gain = 9.2 dB
          • Mid-Gain = 14.2 dBu (4 Vrms), Gain = 17.0 dB
          • High-Gain = 8.2 dBu (2 Vrms), Gain = 23 dB
          • Use Mid-Gain or High-Gain settings for unbalanced inputs
          • Unbalanced inputs require RCA to XLRM adapter cables 

          Input Impedance

          • 50 k Ohms, normal mode
          • 1 M Ohm, common mode

          Input CMRR

          • 80 dB at 20 Hz, typical
          • 80 dB at 1 kHz, typical
          • 65 dB at 20 kHz, typical

          Trigger I/O

          • 12 VDC 200 mA current-limited output to trigger turn-on of remote devices
          • DC input for slaving to remote devices
          • Input responds to 3.3 V logic and higher, VIL = 1.26 V, VIH = 2.7 V
          • Absolute maximum input voltage = 30 VDC
          • Absolute minimum input voltage = -0.3 VDC
          • Input Impedance = 20 k Ohms

          Protection Circuits

          • Fully Electronic, No Relays
          • Mute Sequencing
          • Distortion Detection
          • Short Circuit Detection
          • Over Current Detection
          • Over Temperature Detection
          • SOA Detection (Output device safe operating area)

          Dimensions

          Non-rack-mount version:

          • 11.04" W x 3.88" H x 9.34 " D - Including feet and binding posts
          • 11.04" W x 3.47" H x 8.33 " D - Excluding feet and connectors
          • Faceplate height is 2RU

          Rack-mount version:

          • 19.00" W x 3.88" H x 10.62 " D - Including binding posts, handles and removable feet
          • 19.00" W x 3.47" H x 8.33 " D - Excluding feet and connectors
          • 9.09" rack depth, including binding posts, excluding cables
          • 11" rack depth, including cables
          • Faceplate height is 2RU

          Weight

          • 12.5 lbs., 16 lbs. shipping - Non-rack-mount version
          • 13.5 lbs., 17 lbs. shipping - Rack-mount version

          AC Input

          • Auto-ranging AC Input
          • 100 to 120 VAC +/- 10%, 8 Amps, 50 - 60 Hz
          • 220 to 240 VAC +/- 10%, 8 Amps, 50 - 60 Hz
          • Idle Power Consumption = 20 W
          • Standby Power Consumption < 0.5 W

          Manual

          Detailed specifications and performance plots are available in the downloadable manual.

          Download the AHB2 Manual →

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          AHB2 - Driving Martin-Logan ESL 11A Electrostatic Speakers

          Capital Audiofest 2017

          "The folks from Benchmark and Martin-Logan teamed up to do something just a little different, and entirely enchanting, in the Jackson Room!"

          "The resultant sound was extremely clean and fast, surprisingly dynamic, and the space, as you'd expect with good multi-channel, was get-up-and-walk-around through. Well done!"

          - Greg Weaver, enjoythemusic.com

          View full article →

          DAC3 Review - Audio-Head.com

          Benchmark Media Systems - October 03, 2017

          AHB2 › DAC3 › HiFi ›

          DAC3 DX - "The DAC3 hits the mark..."

          "If we had to categorize the sound of the DAC3 using three words, those words would be precision, precision and precision."

          DAC3 DX with AHB2

          "Partnered with the AHB2 power amplifier, the system represents a significant powerhouse in a relatively small footprint."

          "Dynamics were surprisingly tight, quick and responsive in a manner that would make most audiophiles take another look at the “pro” side ..."

          View full article →

          AHB2 - Stereophile Class-A Recommended Component

          "The AHB2 makes use of THX Corporation's Achromatic Audio Amplifier (AAA) technology, in which a low-power feed-forward amplifier drives a low-bias class-AB output section, the latter energized by a system of class-H power-supply rails that deliver power in response to demand—resulting in an extremely efficient amplifier capable of robust power output."

          "In his listening tests, KR discovered "much more apparent low-level detail in already-familiar recordings"—a characteristic he credited to the Benchmark's evident noiselessness—and a tonal balance that "sounded more 'right' than any of [the other amps on hand].""

          "In measuring the AHB2 and attempting to confirm its specified very high signal/noise ratio, JA observed nonlinearities in his testing equipment that "haven't affected the measured performance of other amplifiers I've tested, but they were detectable with the AHB2's very low intrinsic distortion and noise." His conclusion: "an extraordinary amplifier.""

          "KR's last word: "bargain.""

          View full article →

          AHB2"It's phenomenal! Gobs of power, detail, finesse and control."

          "Benchmark has been around for a long time. In fact, they are one of the early Audiophile pioneers of USB DACs ... I had always thought of them as more of a digital conversion company, and not an amplifier company—until the AHB2 came about."

          "A PF colleague of mine (Steven Lefkowicz) said... Dude, you HAVE to try the Benchmark in your system (which at the time was going through a gamut of speaker changes as part of a myriad of reviews being done for PF) to which I replied, wow, they have an amp?"

          "I was immediately taken aback with the level of detail given to this unit. Just one glance at the back plate will tell you that this is a well-engineered piece of equipment. Fully Balanced = Check. Speakon Outputs = Check. Bridging Support = Check. Input Sensitivity Adjustment = Check. 12v Trigger support = Check."

          "So, how does it sound, after all of that? Well, this thing is no slouch. It's phenomenal! Gobs of power, detail, finesse and control."

          - Peter Davey, Positive Feedback

          View full article →

          AHB2 Review - Ben Shyman, Home Theater Review

          Benchmark Media Systems - May 10, 2017

          AHB2 › HiFi ›

          AHB2 - "It improved my listening pleasure for a song that I have probably heard 500 times."

          "As with a Class A amplifier, I could detect the muscle of the AHB2 and hear it in the sheer weight of presentation in the lower octaves."

          "The AHB2 can drive virtually any speaker load with significant power--especially in monaural mode--yet it never lacked finesse on delicate passages."

          "It is a technologically advanced and remarkable amplifier ..." 

          - Ben Shyman, Home Theater Review

          View full article →

          AHB2 - "Stereophile Amplification Component of the Year" - 2016 Finalist"

          The AHB2 was one of only 11 finalists in Stereophile's "Amplification Component of the Year" category. The finalists included 6 power amplifiers, 2 preamplifiers, 2 integrated amplifiers, and 1 headphone amplifier. This elite selection of amplification products included power amplifiers ranging in price from $2,995 (Benchmark AHB2) to $52,000 a pair (Vandersteen M7-HPA).

          At $52,000 the Vandersteen includes a chassis milled from a solid billet of aluminum, liquid cooling and a vibration dampening suspension. It is an impressive example of mechanical engineering and industrial design.

          At $2,995, the Benchmark AHB2 delivers the quietest, cleanest power available at any price.

          The AHB2 proves that top-quality audio can be affordable.

          View full article →

          "I Took a Leap of Faith"

          It's not the first time I've heard Error-Correction amplifiers, but those were prototypes that weren't working all too well. Classic feedback, TIM-free design was better, so I was afraid that AHB2 might be “wrong” somehow. It took a little bit of “leap-of-faith” to buy one, but I could not ignore the advice I was given about it, as it was given by people that are insiders in this Audio industry of ours. I'm happy to say that my thoughts of Error Correction approach being maybe wrong, could not be farthest from the truth.

          AHB2 - "End of the Journey"

          What can I say ... maybe the shortest way to summarize it would be this: the AHB2 is the end of the journey for me. I have no desire for ever going back to typical multi-thousand Dollar High-End amplifiers.

          - Aleksandar Radisavljević, Founder and Director of RAAL

          View full article →

          AHB2 - "It could well be the last amp you'll ever own. Yes, it is that good."

          "Benchmark Media Systems Pro-centric products tout exceptional specifications, and their AHB2 amplifier--developed in tandem with engineers from THX and using their patented HX Achromatic™ Audio Amplifier technology—uses some rather unusual patented designs to get to those remarkable spec numbers." 

          DAC2 - "The Benchmark AHB2 is a very good amp, and the DAC2 is a very good DAC—it's no wonder that they have been slathered in near-universal praise."

          "These two partners in musical misbehavior sound great together and cost less--with Benchmark cables included—than my Pass XA 30.8 amp alone. To be sure, my reference Pass is a fantastic amplifier, but the AHB2 has its own charms that I found played to my own listening biases."

          "Yep. Good stuff, those BM boys."

          - Gary L Beard, Positive-Feedback

          View full article →

          AHB2 - Driving PMC IB2S Passive Studio Monitors

          At the 141st AES conference we demonstrated two Benchmark AHB2 monoblock power amplifiers driving a pair of 4-Ohm PMC IB2S passive studio monitors (these monitor are also available in the PMC IB2SE hi-fi version).

          In bridged mono, the AHB2 can deliver over 518 watts into each of these 4-Ohm speakers. This is a perfect match to PMC's 500 watt recommendation. The AHB2 easily provides the power, the output current, and the damping required by these low-impedance speakers.

          "I am very impressed with the clarity and accuracy of these outstanding professional monitors. The Benchmark AHB2 and PMC IB2S are an absolutely killer combination!" - John Siau, VP, Benchmark Media Systems, Inc.

          View full article →

          AHB2 - Receives The Absolute Sound's 2016 Golden Ear Award!

          "Used within its 100Wpc rating, this is in any practical sense a perfect power source, with by far the lowest measured noise and distortion of any amplifier currently on the market."

          "... if you need more power, buy two and strap them for dual mono at 380 watts a side."

          "Either way, power just doesn't get any cleaner or purer than this."

          "Neutrality and accuracy are the names of its game ... a sense of being plugged right into the source."

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          Manual

          Detailed specifications and performance plots are available in the downloadable manual.

          AHB2 Manual

          AHB2 Application Notes

          AHB2 App Notes

          Reviews

          AHB2 Reviews

         

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        DESIGNED, ASSEMBLED, AND TESTED IN THE USA

        This Benchmark product was designed, assembled, and tested in the USA using USA and imported components. Most major components are made in USA.